November 26, 2012

Thanksgiving Week Shows Healthy Giving Signs

Americans didn't increase their spending only at the malls over Thanksgiving, they gave a lot more money online to charity in the past week than they did at this time a year ago, producing a 61-percent surge in online donations.

The data come from a Chronicle analysis of gifts processed by Network for Good, which handles online donations for charities. The Chronicle looked at gifts that the group processed for over 8,700 nonprofits in both 2011 and 2012 and found that not only did the amount of donations increase, but so did the number of donations, which rose 16 percent compared with Thanksgiving week last year.

"Corporate partners urging employees to give, coupled with [Superstorm] Sandy relief, have significantly boosted giving," says Katya Andresen, chief operating officer at Network for Good.

The year-end surge was not just a one-week phenomenon. Since October, those charities have more than doubled the amount of money they've raised online, compared with the first seven weeks of the last quarter in 2011. The number of gifts has risen by 26 percent.

Network for Good says the fourth-quarter rise isn't just about Sandy but also about the popularity of online-fundraising portals like Crowdrise that help funnel contributions to different causes.

"That really bolsters the positive effects for the average nonprofit, because they're getting donations from multiple sources," Ms. Andresen says.

She adds: "We're seeing healthy growth already."

The Chronicle will be providing a weekly tally on charities' online fundraising, based on Network for Good data, to serve as a benchmark for charities raising money online this season.

See our interactive graphic to track year-end online giving by day.

Emily Gipple contributed to this report.

Send an e-mail to Raymund Flandez.